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Bloomberg Law: Ex-Cognizant Execs Challenge DOJ Corporate Cooperation StrategyApril 18, 2023
Defense attorneys are monitoring a case concerning Gordon Coburn and Steven Schwartz, two former Cognizant executives who are facing bribery charges. The case raises constitutional arguments over how companies deal with the US Department of Justice in criminal cases. Coburn and Schwartz were indicted for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act after allegedly bribing Indian government officials US$2 million to construct an office park. The defendants are challenging prosecutors with precedent set in Garrity v. New Jersey, which held that “public officials can't use the threat of terminating someone’s employment to force them to abandon their constitutional rights against self-incrimination.” O’Melveny partner Benjamin Singer, who previously headed the DOJ’s securities and financial fraud unit, noted that “if the Coburn judge decides that it’s still attributable to the government, I think counsel for individual defendants would say any time you have a company that’s seeking a benefit from the government in one of these investigations—which is almost every case—company interviews should be attributed to the government.”
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